Monday, October 3, 2011

Don't Get Mad, Get Everything

Sometimes, you need a certain kind of movie to perk up an otherwise dull evening.  Of course, its hard to tell what that movie will be until you choose it.  You might be in the mood for a scary film, or maybe you want something silly and stupid.  Perhaps you are interested in indulging in nostalga and watching something mediocre from your childhood, or perhaps you want something that will make you think.  Friday night, for some reason, I needed to see a chick flick...and not just any chick flick.  I needed one that was about getting even.  Before you ask, no I had not been spurrned by someone and no I wasn't acting out any aggression at anyone specific...it was just what I was in the mood for.  That's kind of the beauty of having a lot of fiction in the house, because I have a film for every mood.  But I digress...Friday night I needed a time waster that I'd seen a lot (because I was gonna be running back and forth from the kitchen and wouldn't mind if I missed something in it) but also something that I'd chuckle at and would keep me energized.  So I decided on a classic chick power film from the mid-90s that starred the fabulous Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton and showcased them getting back at the men who had done them wrong.  Ladies and gentlemen...I present The First Wives Club.

Annie, Brenda, and Elise are three old college friends from the 60s who are suddenly reunited by the tragic loss of their friend Cynthia, who had committed suicide following a messy divorce from a husband she gave her best years to.  Coincidentally, the three friends are each going through similar breakups.  Annie's husband is leaving her for their marriage counselor after years of her continued support for his buisniss, Brenda's husband has divorced her for a chippie from his department store despite the fact that Brenda has been instrumental in the lifestyle he has become accustomed to, and Elise's producer/husband has left her for a younger actress and is now demanding allimony, despite the fact that Elise was the one who produced her films and allowed the husband to take the credit.  Alone they feel defeated and unappreciated, but once they come together and see that this isn't a problem confined only to their personal lives, they become energized and empowered as they plan to carry out justice on their wandering and unappreciative men.

The First Wives Club is a fairly predictable affair.  You already know from the cover that these women will be mistreated by men, come together to gain strength, and eventually get back at the men who so richly deserve their retribution.  However, to dismiss The First Wives Club on that criteria alone is to miss the point.  The film knows that it is a predictable chick flick and that it's men exist to be characters we love to hate...however, it is the journey that is important.  Finding out HOW these women will get revenge on their husbands is what drives the suspense and the jokes in the movie.  Also, the powerhouse performances of all three leading ladies is certainly a joy to behold as they laugh, cry, and yes...sing all before the closing credits roll.  Also of note are Maggie Smith and Sarah Jessica Parker in smaller the but plot important rolls of a New York sociallite and Brenda's husband's chippie respecitvely.  There are wonderful lines (given to us from the original novel by Olivia Goldsmith and the sharp screenplay by Robert Harling (who wrote the play and screenplay of Steel Magnolias) that are constantly quoted ("Don't get mad....get everything"..."I say this to you out of love, friendship and the spirit of true sisterhood...you are FULL OF SHIT!") and then there is the inspired musical number that closes the picture, a rousing cover of Leslie Gore's "You Don't Own Me" that almost convinces me that Club could have been a musical comedy.  But I digress again, if you haven't seen it or if you haven't seen it in a while, get off the fence and pick it up.  It would be the perfect film for an evening of wine and girl power.

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